Pierre Dejean, a TIAA-CREF Managing Consultant, who had a heart attack in August during a meeting with The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) President and CEO Richard B. Becker, MD, joined TIAA-CREF President Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., and other TIAA-CREF representatives, local officials, physicians, administrators and staff for the dedication of the hospital’s new TIAA-CREF Stress Lab, which brings much needed advanced diagnostic cardiac care to the borough’s high-risk population.According to Dr. Becker, the facility replaces a 15-year-old stress lab, and features state-of-the-art equipment that permits cardiologists to simultaneously monitor blood pressure, heart rate and EKG, enabling faster, more accurate diagnostic and preventive care for a greater number of patients. The facility offers three types of stress tests: a treadmill, pharmacological dual isotope, and stress test with echocardiography.
“I’m very sorry Mr. Dejean had to experience the outstanding cardiac care we offer first hand,” said Dr. Becker, “but his terrible experience could not have happened in a better place. We are very happy to have him with us—in good health--and very grateful to TIAA-CREF for making it possible for our patients--many of whom are at high risk for high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension and obesity-- to have access to this advanced diagnostic cardiac care."
“Pierre Dejean witnessed The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s excellent care in action,” says Mr. Ferguson. “Statistics tell us that people who live in low-income areas are more likely to suffer from heart disease then their affluent neighbors. We’re supporting The Brooklyn Hospital Center because of its clear strategy for dealing with health disparities in Brooklyn by acquiring diagnostic cardiology equipment and making sure it is available to those who need it most.”
Unlike many of TBHC’s at-risk patients, Mr. Dejean was an exercise buff and avid biker with no family history of heart disease, and normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In fact, he had spent the week before his meeting with Dr. Becker biking in Cape Cod.
“I wasn’t in pain, so I initially ignored my symptoms,” said Mr. Dejean, who became sweaty and felt queasy during his meeting with Dr. Becker. “Dr. Becker could see something was seriously wrong. He asked me to loosen my tie and open my shirt, and called for a wheelchair.”
Dr. Becker accompanied Mr. Dejean to the hospital’s Emergency Department, where an EKG found a blood clot in a critical artery leading to the heart, a condition that could not have been prevented by good diet and exercise.
“I’m so thankful for the swift, professional care I received at The Brooklyn Hospital Center,” said Mr. Pierre, who said he often wonders what would have happened if his heart attack had occurred while he was biking on the trails of Cape Cod. “Two months after the heart attack an ECG was unable to detect any permanent damage to my heart. From a medical standpoint, it was as if nothing had happened. I’m lucky to have been in the right place at the right time, and I’m very happy the residents of downtown Brooklyn will have access to the same great care I received if and when they need it.”
“Geography can truly equal destiny, especially for heart disease in New York City,” says Frank Iacovone, MD, Chief of TBHC’s Division of Cardiology. He cited a New York City Department of Health report this summer that found the highest preventable heart disease-related hospitalization rates occur among residents of Williamsburg/Bushwick Brooklyn (1,372 per 100,000), a rate that is 10 times the rate for residents of the Upper East Side of Manhattan (131 per100,000), the area with the lowest rate.
“The increase in capacity we can offer with the new stress lab would be significant anywhere, but it is especially vital for the communities of downtown Brooklyn, where low-income minorities are at higher risk for heart and vascular disease at a younger age. We’re hoping the new TIAA-CREF Stress Lab will help us rectify these disparities.”